Success via solving your own problem
We love the stories of people who had a personal challenge that in solving it for themselves also solved it for others.
Sarah Breedlove had a scalp disorder which caused hair loss due to the harsh lye that was included in the soaps used to cleanse the hair. Initially she learned about hair care from her brothers, who owned a barber shop in St. Louis. Around the time of the 1904 World's Fair she became a commission agent selling hair care products. She moved to Denver and began experimenting with her own formulas eventually developing "Wonderful Hair Grower." After marrying Charles Joseph Walker, a newspaper advertising salesman, she became Madam C. J. Walker and used her own before/after photos in the advertisements of Madam C.J. Walker's Wonderful Hair Grower and other products. She trained women in the art of selling and developed them into "beauty culturists."
I love this photo of Sarah and her friends driving to lunch during a time when it was rare for women to own cars or know how to drive.
Most of all, I love it that Sarah's story isn't of a solo act. While she is at the center of her success, her barber brothers, the first company she sold products for and her husband's knowledge of advertising and promotion all played a role in equipping her to become Madame CJ Walker.
I think part of the barrier to success is that we think it is going to come from somewhere outside of us in a context other than what we are already living. We each have the potential to succeed and to play a role in the success of others. Our success uses our own biographies. You've heard the adage: "write what you know." I think a similar adage should be: "Solve what you are given." We already have in our hands the experiences, challenges and internal talents to become who we were always meant to be. It is up to us to learn what we can learn then to put our passion and creativity into making the most of those ingredients.
One thing is for sure, while there are occasional lottery winners, that isn't the most likely path. So don't waste time looking on the horizon. What we need is much, much closer.